Guide to Write Student CV or Academic Resume


Sristy Sharma
Updated on Jun 16, 2022 05:50 PM IST

In order to successfully study abroad, an international student has to prepare a Student CV. Here is a guide for you to understand what a student CV is along with its format, tips, mistakes you should avoid while writing a student CV, and more.

Guide to Write Student CV or Academic Resume

Among the documents required for study abroad applications, a student CV is also a crucial one. However, the document is not limited to university applications and is also used for internships, training programs and sometimes, even for part-time jobs abroad.

A Student CV is also one of those documents which are prepared by the student themselves as a self-introduction (another example is SOP). It is used by the selection committee as a reference point for a student's whole application.

We have prepared a guide for you to know all the steps you need to follow to prepare an impressive student CV and ensure yourself a fair chance of getting into a university abroad. Here is everything about a student CV, from format to writing tips and common mistakes. 

Our Ivy League mentors can further help you craft an impressive student CV and ensure acceptance to the university of your choice.

Avoid Making Mistakes in Your Student CV!

What is a Student CV or Academic Resume?

A Student CV is a type of self-introducing document which also works as an index for your whole application folder. The document provides a summarised and informative insight into your experience and achievements. Your student CV or academic resume is a requirement in study abroad applications and is also needed to apply for internships, training programs, part-time jobs while studying abroad, research programs or clubs and even in university clubs.

Importance of a Student CV for Admissions Abroad

A Student CV is important for an international student due to the following reasons:

  • It properly speaks of your capabilities and your prior achievements along with projects, activities, social work, volunteering you were involved in.

  • It acts as your self-introduction in a summarised and direct manner which further helps the admissions officers in building a better and easier connection with you.

  • It is a preferred document as it is direct and summarises a large application folder.

  • It is often used as an index to the whole application set.

  • It helps in forming an opinion about you, your personality based on which they can create an impression of your capabilities and contribution to the university.

Difference Between Regular CV and Student CV

Student CV might serve a similar purpose to a Regular CV, however, both are quite different from each other. A regular CV is a statement that summarises the job seeker or applicant’s personal details, achievements, experience and education, in a single document. The document acts as an introduction of the applicant, and even in cases where they are personally present, it becomes the guiding light of the employer. It is similar to a detailed business card of the applicant.

As it is clear, a regular CV is mainly for job seekers and therefore, is related to the job market. It is a common term among the job seekers of any industry at any level of expertise or experience.

Here is a table showing how Regular CV and Student CV differ on various parameters:


Regular CV

Student CV

Person Introduced

An individual who is ready to employ themselves in a job that requires the use of their advertised skills and experience.

A student who desires to summarise their academic journey and achievements for the university(ies) they are applying to.

Person Addressed to


University admissions commitee

Purpose of CV

To act as a detailed summary of your work experience along with educational background

To act as a reference point and index of the whole application in terms of your educational journey to date.


People keep their CV’s easily updatable so that with each milestone achievement, they can enhance their CV and further themselves in the job market

It is updatable. However, this is applicable only until you keep pursuing higher education


Many Bachelors and Masters students tend to reflect their Student CV heavily on their Regular CV due to participation in extracurricular activities, etc.

Its point of focus is an academic journey and skills and achievements are undertaken, hence, it is not fully transferable, only a minor part of your regular CV can be used.

Usage Possibility

Passive and Active.

Even when an individual is not actively seeking employment, a regular CV remains in the market, passively attracting better employers and offers.

Passive and Active.

Passive use is mostly for references for those providing internships. In every case, the student only has to step in and apply for the CV to be used.

Life Span

It can be put to use throughout your career and life with regular updates about your experience and skills.

There is no particular limit. However, it can be used only for academic applications.

Format of a Student CV

In preparation for a Student CV, the format is of little importance. The main aim is to ensure a clean and attractive presentation. While doing this, there are certain details that must compulsorily exist on your Student CV. These details include the following:

Personal Profile

Your personal profile shall contain all the personal details and a short self-introduction in your own words. The personal details furnished in this section should include name, age, gender, contact number, e-mail address, permanent address, and any other contact details. The word count for the self-introduction paragraph should range from 60 to 80 words. You will be required to present yourself as interesting as you can within this limit. 


The qualifications shall include details regarding your current qualification level. All the qualifications you have earned shall come under this category. Each qualification details must include the name of the qualifying degree, institute from which the course was studied, name of the university that awarded your degree and percentage or GPA obtained in the qualifying degree. 

Work or Academic Experience

You will be required to put all your experiences, be it work-related or education-related and explain a bit about your roles and responsibilities. The details shall include internships, work experience and collateral courses. Each entry must convey information such as the authorising body, duration of experience and dates, your role description and highlights of your time there.

Interpersonal Skills

These shall include your personality traits which you have either developed or been born with and which have helped you throughout the experience until now. Apart from this, they must also promise your performance in future shall the institute or company accepts your CV.

Additional Skills

These shall include anything about your life or education that you find important and relevant but could not decipher the head it should belong to. These include linguistic skills and level of fluency, technical skills and level of expertise, co-curricular skills and level of expertise, hobbies and other Interests and level of expertise. The basic aim of including this section is to build a multi-dimensional picture of your personality and allow the selection panel to assess the kind of person you are.

Our study abroad experts have years of experience in evaluating a student's profile and creating a personalised application timeline for them. 

Ensure Your Application Doesn't Get Rejected!

Content to Include in a Student CV

While preparing a Student CV, you should know exactly what you must incorporate in it. Here is the content you should include in your Student CV:

Personal Profile

It is either the first or the second information which the reviewer is looking out for. The reason is that it shows the perception you have about yourself. While on an overall basis it might seem simple, it happens to affect the most as it speaks of your awareness of your potential. While writing the piece, the following may help you:

  • Write the paragraph once you have finalised your whole CV as this will help you craft out a relevant introduction. 

  • Do not put more than four or five adjectives in this paragraph. The ideal number is three when it comes to adding adjectives here.

  • The focus should be on making an impact with simple and engaging words.

  • Do not overload the paragraph with heavy and flowery information or phrases.

  • This paragraph should be in the third person.

Relevant Qualifications

The qualifications you provide must be relevant to your purpose of application. It's alright to furnish additional information but not under this head. Here, you must ensure it supports and is helpful to your university application's purpose and your role in acceptance must be related to it. Also, furnish information in order of importance.

Relevant Experience

Similarly to your academic qualifications, the work or education experience must also be relevant to the position you are applying for as it shall help you in securing the attention and interest of the selection panel. However, you should refrain from adding irrelevant information here which might confuse the panel and lead to your rejection.

Relevant Interpersonal Skills

Your interpersonal skills need to be prioritised on the basis of your current experience and upcoming responsibilities. Here you can take one of the following two approaches:

  • List the skills on a priority basis. This will allow you to list around 8-10 skills.

  • Filter out the priorities and sort them into 3-4 heads and put explanations under them.

In the case of listing, the terms should not be repetitive; make them interesting and more implicative to read; terms should neither be generic nor ones requiring serious research; should be related to your Student CV and the required level of knowledge.

In the case of a descriptive approach, ensure that terms imply different things and are not repetitive; the terms might be filtered on priority but must not drastically differ on the level; ensure each term is important but talks of different dimensions; use interesting descriptions and sample out through words and do not add more than 40-50 words.

Linguistic Abilities

Irrespective of your application, showcasing your linguistic skills in your Student CV is important. Ensure to properly convey the languages you are proficient in. If your native language is not English or the required one it is still recommended to keep it on the second number.

Also, your native language is important as it shows whether you are ignorant or aware of the cultures you are a part of. It also speaks of the possible respect you shall give to a new set of cultural introductions.

Tips to Write a Student CV

Preparing an impressive CV is not at all easy; it shall take not only proper information but also representational skills. The biggest challenge is to ensure that your CV stands out amongst all the others submitted and you are invited for the interview.

You can consult the following few tips to ensure an impressive Student CV:

  • Your representation format must be attractive but simple. There may be multiple elements in it but they must not be overwhelming in the final result. Balance out the information on the basis of detail and priority. Also, ensure that the important sections are visible at a glance.

  • In the case of a descriptive Student CV, ensure that you give proper headings to your content.  

  • Use tables and bullets for better representation. 

  • In case you are using colours in your Student CV, ensure to not use extreme contrasts. If in doubt, use complementary colors with a base of either black or white. Do not involve more than three in any case and choose one base colour, one complementary and if you want to use a third colour, attest it to elements such as line breaks or borders, etc.

  • Ideally, your Student CV must not exceed more than 2 A4 size pages.

  • Ensure chronology and priority in your CV.

  • The final CV must be clean and inviting.

  • Use only confident language. 

  • Formatting must be kept semi-formal throughout.

  • Formatting for description and lists must be the same as they are the same type of content with different representations.

Common Mistakes to Avoid While Preparing a Student CV

Reaching the end of this guide, we would like to also furnish some of the most common mistakes which you must absolutely avoid in your Student CV. Find the same below:

  • Avoid trying to provide each and every detail. Stick to necessary ones.

  • However important, if the information is not relevant, shift it to ‘miscellaneous’. Additionally, chronology must not be forgotten for impact.

  • The format must not be diverted from. If ascending chronology has been applied then it should be followed throughout and not changed to descending order.

  • Fonts and formatting must not be over stylised. Less is more and rules, as specified by the concerned university, must be followed.

  • The Student CV must not exceed two pages in any case.

  • Each heading must not be descriptive. A balance must be maintained between descriptive content and bulleted content.

  • Do not focus on colours more than information.

  • Do not write your Student CV in the first person.

  • Descriptions must not be in passive voice.

  • Use of ‘may’ and ‘can’ must be avoided as they show a lack of confidence.

Preparing a perfect student CV requires proper professional guidance throughout the process. Our experts can point you in the right direction. Write to them at

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